Former Federal Police Chief Fernando Segovia. Photo: ABr
Former Federal Police Chief Fernando Segovia. Photo: ABr

Former Federal Police Chief Fernando Segovia. Photo: ABr

When he was named Federal Police Chief back in November, Fernando Segovia wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt. He was picked to lead an institution that investigates politicians by a politician under investigation. It also didn’t help that his name was reportedly vouched for by congressmen with a long list of their own encounters with the justice system. Segovia would have needed to perform his job perfectly to escape from criticism. Unsurprisingly, he failed, and was fired from the position after just 109 days.

Segovia was let go after sponsoring numerous actions perceived to be attempts by the government to tamper with federal investigations.

Right off the bat, Segovia claimed that a video showing President Michel Temer’s personal aide receiving a bag of cash from a businessman did not prove any wrongdoing. “One only bag might not indicate a crime,” he said at the time, failing to mention exactly how many cash-filled bags would be inappropriate for an aid of the sitting president to accept.

Internally, Segovia was seen as an enemy by his subordinates. It didn’t help that he approved a rule exposing internally secret investigations. In order to continue with any probes, detectives are now required to fill out forms with details of the case – something that wasn’t done in order to prevent leaks.

Which leads us to the straw that broke the camel’s back. On February 16, in an interview with Reuters, Segovia broke Federal Police protocol and discussed an ongoing investigation – the one against his boss, President Temer, who is suspected of accepting bribes in exchange for signing a decree crafted to benefit companies operating in the Port of Santos.

The now former Federal Police Chief said that nothing indicated any wrongdoing by the president. However, investigators demanded that the Supreme Court lift Temer’s bank secrecy, in order to better scrutinize his possibly corrupt relationship with private corporations. Segovia’s indiscretion brought unwanted attention to the president’s office and sealed his fate. The perfect moment to fire him came when Temer created the Ministry of Public Safety, which will oversee federal police forces.

The replacement

To replace Segovia, Temer has picked Rogério Galloro. This choice is by no means surprising. When former Chief Leandro Daiello retired in November 2017, his name was among the leading candidates for the job. Segovia’s good relationship with politicians from Temer’s party, however, had tipped the scales in his favor.

Galloro joined the Federal Police force in 1995. Between 2011 and 2013, he served as the force’s representative in the U.S., and also headed the Feds’ regional bureau in Goiás between 2007 and 2009.

It remains to be seen whether Galloro will perform his duties as he must – or if he will repeat his predecessor’s mistakes.

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.